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Ansell, Johnlocked

  • Philip L. Scowcroft

(b March 26, 1874; d Marlow, Bucks., Dec 14, 1948). English composer and conductor. He studied composition at the GSM with MacCunn and then pursued a career in London's West End, latterly as a musical director, especially at the Playhouse, Winter Garden, Alhambra, Shaftesbury and Adelphi theatres. He subsequently worked for the BBC from 1926 to 1930. Drawing on his theatrical background he composed incidental music and also operettas, of which The King's Bride, Violette and especially the well-characterized Medorah achieved modest success.

He was also adept at writing colourful, attractively scored and melodious suites and single movements. Some of these showed a fondness for Ireland, the country which also inspired his Overture to an Irish Comedy. Others sought to explore fresh ideas in the light concert suite, a common genre in the first half of the 20th century, as in his Mediterranean Suite (three dance movements representing Spain, Italy and France) and The Shoe (Sabot, Ballet Shoe, Court Shoe, Sandal, Brogue, Strathspey). His most popular piece was the rousing nautical overture Plymouth Hoe, really a potpourri of sea songs, and one of several lively overtures. Ansell is discussed in P.L. Scowcroft: British Light Music: a Personal Gallery of Twentieth-Century Composers (London, 1997).


(selective list)


all dates those of first London performance

The King's Bride (comic op, 2, N. Slee), Kennington, 19 July 1911

Mr Wu (Anglo-Chinese play, 3, H.M. Vernon and H. Owen), Strand, 27 Nov 1913

Violette (comic op, 2, Slee), Lyric, 13 May 1918

Medorah (comic op, V. Ennen and D. Spranklin), Alhambra, 1920

Incid music, incl. The Toymaker of Nuremberg (play, 3, A. Strong), Playhouse, 15 March 1910

Rip Van Winkle (play, 3, Strong), Playhouse, 21 Sept 1911

Colombine (fantasy, 1, Ansell and R. Arkell), Strand, 27 Nov 1913


Orch ovs.

Ov. to an Irish Comedy (1912)

Plymouth Hoe (1914)

John and Sam (1918)

Private Ortheris (1925)

The Windjammer (1932)

Tally-Ho (1933)

Orch suites

Danses miniatures de ballet (1905)

Three Irish Dances (1908)

Children's Suite (1916)

Three Irish Pictures (1919)

Innisfail (1928)

Mediterranean Suite (1935)

The Shoe

Other orch works

Serenade, vc, orch, 1898

Spick and Span, march, (1903)

Le Printemps, waltz (1908)

The Toymaker of Nuremberg, waltz (1910) [from incid music to play]

April Blooms, entr'acte (1924)

The Grand Vizier (1925)

The Elves Wedding

many others

Piano solo

Aubade (1905)

Suite Pastoral (1922): 1 When the Hawthorn Blooms, 2 Poppies and Cornflowers, 3 The Autumn Moon, 4 Holly and Mistletoe

Principal publishers

Chappell, Hawkes & Sons/Boosey & Hawkes, Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew